Cow Corner

Watch your back, Ryan

Cow Corner

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Yorkshire do not have a County Championship game this week which gives Tim Bresnan some more valuable time to stick pins in his Ryan Sidebottom voodoo doll.

Bresnan was the fall guy when England named their 15-man squad for the £11.5m Stanford Super Series in the Caribbean with Sidebottom guaranteed a yacht, sorry a place, as long as he proves his fitness after injury.

With about £150,000 guaranteed for the four blokes who don't even make the final XI, you wouldn't blame Bresnan on getting some hired goons to "do" Ryan. We're not encouraging violence - merely asking Ryan to carry an Ikea wardrobe should be enough to knock his dodgy back out of kilter.

And for an event with all the sporting integrity of Inner City Sumo with Chas and Dave, who would begrudge Bresnan the chance of a nice payday.

The Pontefract-born all-rounder is never going to be the next poster boy of English cricket although his burly figure does make him an ideal candidate to advertise chip fat.

For Pietersen and Flintoff, who can wet their beaks on central contracts and a bevvy of endorsements, the £500,000 they will receive for a victory is a mere extra level on their Mock Tudor mansion.

For the average county pro, it's an entire career's worth of money in two and a half hours. At least Bresnan has age, just 23, and location on his side.

The whole pay structure is misplaced as Bresnan could buy a 12-bedroom place with his half a million while Paul Collingwood could buy the whole of Sunderland with his. Poor old Owais Shah can only just get enough for a two-bed flat close to Lord's.

Remember England are playing Allen Stanford's 'Caribbean Superstars' - a phrase that has been an oxymoron since about 1986.

Their 17-man squad includes such 'superstars' as Lionel Baker (Montserrat), Lennox Cush (Guyana), Rayad Emrit (Trinidad and Tobago), Andre Fletcher (Grenada), Chad Hampson (Antigua and Barbuda) and Lindon James (St Vincent and the Grenadines).
So surely England could have rewarded some honest county pros with a slice of the cash.

Perhaps in line with the farcical nature of the event the selection process could have involved forcing them to down six cans of Red Stripe, spinning them around and then letting them bowl at a single stump.

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Of course the only really important announcement yesterday was that Michael Vaughan is still in line for an Ashes place after being named as one of 12 centrally contracted players.

"The award of a central contract reflects the selectors' view that Michael still has a role to play in the England Test squad over the next 12 months," national selector Geoff Miller said after paying Vaughan a yearly salary to play a role in the England Test squad over the next 12 months.

Professional curmudgeons such as Bob Willis were quick to point out that the former skipper only averaged 24 in nine Tests in the last year, six against New Zealand, and Derek Pringle accused England of sentimentality, saying it smacks of the cosy club England became under Vaughan.

But lest not forget Vaughan is a streak player - six centuries in nine Tests against India and those Aussies in 2002 - the highlight of such a run of form.

He's only 34 and remember class is permanent, form is temporary. A few glorious cover drives and a century in India and Willis and co are sure to be backtracking.

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FINAL WORD: England did not name a wicketkeeper amongst their 12 centrally contracted players. Some would argue that with Tim Ambrose behind the stumps, they have been without a gloveman all summer.


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